4Licensing Corporation (formerly known as 4Kids Entertainment) is an American film and television production company known for English-dubbing Japanese anime and specializing in the acquisition, production and licensing of children's entertainment around the United States.
The company is most well known for its range of television licenses, which has included the multi-billion dollar Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! Japanese anime franchises. They also ran two program blocks: The CW4Kids on The CW and 4Kids TV stations, both aimed at children. As of December 27, 2008, the 4KidsTV block ended on Fox Network, leaving 4Kids to only broadcast The CW4Kids. On May 19, 2010, the New York Stock Exchange announced that 4Kids would be delisted from its listings. In April, 2011, 4Kids filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. In June 2012 Saban Brands purchased the assets of the company, with 4Kids' New York City offices and the rights to the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise going to Konami, and Saban getting everything else. On December 13, 2012, 4Kids exited their bankruptcy. On December 21, 2012 4Kids was reincorporated as 4Licensing Corporation.
Involvement in Winx Club
4Kids acquired the rights to air Winx Club from Rainbow S.r.l. in 2004 and made an English dub of its own for the show that was aired on 4Kids TV, formerly known as the FoxBox, from May 22, 2004 to December 27, 2008, and on the CW4Kids from July 18, 2009 to July 17, 2010. This dub included many plot changes, as well as many name changes and many other edits thus creating another Winx Club continuity. This was part of the company's effort to adapt Winx Club to an American audience.
In 2007, the license for 4Kids Entertainment expired and was not renewed, and the final rerun of Winx Club ended on July 17, 2010 with the Season 3 finale being announced as the series finale for Winx Club. In 2010, it was announced that Nickelodeon had acquired the rights for Winx Club, and would be co-producing the fifth and sixth seasons along with Rainbow S.r.l.
Co-Productions with Rainbow S.r.l
Typical Edits/CensoringA tendency of 4Kids was to edit some parts of the series programming to make it more appropriate for the American audience of the time. There are a variety of types of edits, which can be broken down into these categories:
- Dialog: Some lines are edited so as to change the meaning. For example, in Winx Club - Episode 112, Lucy promises to do the Trix's homework, which was never mentioned in the original.
- Episode Titles: All episode titles are changed.
- Puns: Some puns are made in the original that is are in translation. More commonly, however, puns are put in where they were not before, such as in the promotional trailer made by 4Kids where Bloom says "My life is fairy amazing". Puns are used in episode titles as well, such as Winx Club - Episode 302 "Beauty is a Beast".
- Music: Some songs and background music and songs are replaced with original songs taking their place. During the transformation sequences, each Winx has a personalized theme, like Aisha's pop-disco theme, Shifting Tides and Bloom's transformation theme being an instrumental of the show's opening theme song
- Cuts: Sometimes a scene is removed completely, while the transformation sequences are shortened. Most Fairy Dust scenes are removed.
- Transitions: Sometimes scenes are moved around, for example in Winx Club - Episode 101, many of the scenes were played out of order.
- Names: Many changes are made to character and location names, such as "Domino" to "Sparks" and "Miele" to "Rose".
- Plot: Some plot changes are made, such as Daphne not being mentioned as Bloom's sister.
- Personalities: Many of the characters' personalities are changed such Musa being a hip-hopper, Stella being more hot-headed, and the Winx, Trix, and Specialists being more like typical teenagers, for example, the Trix act more like typical mean girls, while still retaining their individual power-hungry personalities.
- Censorship: Sometimes physical appearances of things are changed like blood being removed in Winx Club - Episode 201, Daphne's outfit being made less revealing, and the bottom of Stella's breast edited to look like her stomach during her transformation sequence. Some censorship was due to American copyright laws, the costumes in Winx Club - Episode 216, for example.
- Culture: Scenes relating to Italian culture were often edited to be more accessible to American audiences. Also, the schools in Magix are high schools rather than colleges so as to emulate typical American teenage life.
- Opening/Closing: An original opening sequence was created and the closing was a shorter instrumental version of the opening.
Due to the fact that the highly edited 4Kids dub of Winx Club was the one that was aired in the United States, some American fans who had previously watched only this version have criticized the newer Nickelodeon dub of Winx Club, which follows the original storyline of Winx Club produced by Rainbow S.r.l., for not following the 4Kids dub, which they misinterpreted as being the original version. Fans of the original version have also complained that the 4Kids dub does not follow the original storyline at all, and is highly edited, censored, and tailored for the American audience.
- The now defunct website of "4Kids Entertainment" had a domain named "winxclub.tv" that would be advertised during the airing of Winx Club, along with messages left by fans on the website. This website functioned much like "winxclub.com" as fans could explore different area of the website and find fun facts about the series.